White House press secretary Jen Psaki quits her job on Friday, and while she leaves amid praise from the press, she is also leaving after her boss went from 20 positive net approval points to 12 points of negative net approval in the polls.
Former White House political adviser David Axelrod said vogue magazine recently that PSAki is the best publicist of his life. But surely the best press secretary would prevent the president from dropping 30 points in net approval?
In these deeply divided times, one would expect presidents to be hated by a significant portion of the country, regardless of their performance. That’s what happened to President Donald Trump, whose successes are clearer to his critics in hindsight.
But Biden arrived with at least some Republican support. Biden managed to alienate them – and Psaki couldn’t save him.
Instead, she gave glamorous interviews to vogue – breaking the unwritten rule that staff members should never steal the show from the boss. She steps out in time to save her career, leaving the mess to the first black LGBT woman to hold the position.
The best that can be said about Psaki is that without her, President Joe Biden’s disapproval might have been worse. She was by far the most capable visible member of the Biden administration — although that’s a very low bar to cross these days.
Among her positives: Psaki has held regular press briefings, unlike some of her predecessors, including one trying to sell a book about how terrible President Donald was for bringing her out of obscurity.
But Psaki shouldn’t get too much credit for that, any more than a sprinter earns a world record with a strong wind at his back.
Trump’s last press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was at least as sharp and prepared as Psaki, but faced a hostile audience every day.
PSAki also gave Fox News’ Peter Doocy the opportunity to ask questions. It was the least she could do for the number one cable news network, but more than other Democrats wanted her to do — or liberal late-night comedians, for that matter.
But on the negative side, PSAKI brought with it all the bitterness of the tearful, scowling-faced Obama staffers who pouted at the news of Trump’s victory that famous November morning in 2016.
She couldn’t bring herself to give him credit for the rapid development of the coronavirus vaccine. She repeated anti-Trump hoaxes, such as the “bleach injection” hoax. And in her final days on the job, she defended the absurd claim that “MAGA” is the most extreme movement in recent US history.
She did all of this while touting Biden’s claims to unite the country. “You can do both,” she said, by which she meant it was possible to unite the country, as long as everyone agreed with what Biden and his party wanted to do.
The weirdest thing was how PSAki got to work.
She had coveted the job under the Obama administration, but was passed over by the utterly forgettable Josh Earnest — one of the many bland white men who held the job under Obama.
Psaki instead honed her skills at the State Department, where she pioneered the use of “hashtag diplomacy,” one of many half-hearted efforts by Democrats to respond to foreign aggression on social media. , which probably emboldened our enemies.
Despite all his talk of ‘systemic racism’, Psaki got the job over Symone Sanders, the formidable black woman who did the hard work for Biden in the 2020 primary – defending her debate mistakes in the spin room , trudging through freezing Iowa when he fell outside the top three, even tackling a would-be protester at a Super Tuesday rally.
By contrast, Psaki missed the 2020 campaign. His most significant contribution was declaring on CNN that Biden was “out of touch” with the American electorate — a remarkably accurate and honest assessment, which has held true throughout his presidency. .
Like Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff who left the Obama administration shortly before the “shellacking” of the 2010 midterm elections, Psaki left the Biden administration at its lowest point – when babies literally hunger.
PSAKI’s successor, Karine Jean-Pierre, is an incompetent radical who couldn’t explain to reporters this week who, exactly, is in charge of fixing the infant formula problem. We already feel that the wheels are about to come off, well and truly.
And maybe that’s why PSAki deserves some of the accolades she earns: she kept things together for as long as possible. Her briefings were must-attend events because one always felt that she not only explained policy, but also led it.
Journalists love her because they agree with her. But they also likely respected the fact that she had the difficult task of trying to save an ailing president whose only qualification for the job was that he was not Donald Trump.
Difficult days are ahead.
Joel B. Pollak is editor of Breitbart News and host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday nights from 7-10 p.m. ET (4-7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book Neither Free Nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.